I will take all the memories home with me

So this is it, the last blog from LA for a considerable period of time at least, if ever again. I know, I could come back again, and may even need to come back again sooner than that, but being practical, I have many other places to see, some for the first time, some for repeat visits, so its going to be a while, if ever again. And yes, at my age, with the distance involved, and I’m sure the deterioration of my physical health, which is far from perfect even now, I’m sure I wont be able to do as much then, as I can now, anyway. I’m already suspecting that delights like walking up the long hill at Forest Lawn might be beyond me by then at least, but we will see.

To be fair, if you’d told me back in October ’15, that my next holiday would be back here, I would have laughed at you, but its happened. I guess I just wanted to show this city that I’d battled through everything that life had thrown at me, and got here again. But now thats done…?

In some ways today has been a light day, I havent actually left Hollywood. However, I spent a lot of the day on my feet, walking, so maybe not as light as all that? It was actually interesting going on a guided walking tour of Hollywood, where I knew the guide! I know, end of holiday, but in truth, it didnt matter, as I got to visit lots of old buildings that I’d never have got into myself. Oh fine, the one that amused me the most, has to be Musso and Frank’s! Yes, I finally got to go in there, if only for coffee, but at least I now know what it actually looks like from the inside. Of course, for works of fiction, thats a mere technicality, but at least I’ve made it there now. Yes, its every bit as impressive as I’d been led to believe. So if I ever want to use it in a story again lol…?

The other thing I’d already decided was where my last big meal in town would be, and though its not bargain basement, its cheaper than that legendary place. So I settled for the 50’s feel of Mels Diner, for one last time. After that, a couple of final, final goodbyes, at the star, and prints of Jean Harlow, before heading back to base. I do wish there was a star to the uncredited chorus girls/bit part actresses of the world, but no, there isnt, so I just said goodbye to Clara Johnson generally, as I turned off the Boulevard for the last time, on foot at least.

What can I say? You can take a woman out of Yorkshire, but you cant take Yorkshire out of a woman? Yes, I stopped off at a gorgeous, quirky, vintage clothing store on the way back, and saw the most gorgeous, silver flapper dress, really looked the part. Had my size too, but I didnt get it. Why? Because I cant justify spending $65 (plus tax, I’m sure) on a dress I have no idea when, or where I would ever wear it. So yes, I know I’ll regret it, but it stayed in the shop. I could get it in the morning (shop opens at 11, I have to be ready to go at 12.30, and its about 5 minutes walk), but I know I wont.

The only walk I’m planning at present to do in the morning, is a short trip around the block, so that I can walk a little way up Beachwood Drive, looking at the Hollywood sign, one more time. No, I’m not going as far as Verbena though, thats far too far for the short period of time I have left ‘in the sun’ of LA.

Yes, thats it for here. Pretty sure you’ll have to wait until Monday for the next blog, I’ll have too much catching up to do on Sunday for that.

The video. I’m surprised I havent used this Elaine Paige classic before, but seemingly I havent (well, on 1 blog at least), so lets use it now

The number 1 actress all over heaven, and it might not be Harlow?

Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…

As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.

After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.

No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.

So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.

Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.

Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?

After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!

Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…

A group of actresses

Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like a firm of solicitors!

In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.

I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?

In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.

There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.

Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!

The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…

I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!

The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.

So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.

The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.

Tell me that you’ll wait for me

I would add, “Babe, I hate to have to go.”, but I’d be lying, badly! Yes, to add to the corniness of all this, and give away the song in tonights video, then yes, tomorrow, I will be leaving on a jet plane.

And yes, after 19 months without flying anywhere, I’m returning to the same area that I flew back from, all that time ago. In fact, I’ll be staying in an apartment less than a mile from where I stayed last time! I only wish that place on Verbena Drive was still available, but the place I’ve got looks as good, for sure, and maybe even a little larger?

I know, I really must go somewhere other than Hollywood sometime soon, and in fact, in September, I will, heading for New England, New York State and that area. Thats going to be fun, not only going to a wedding, but being a bridesmaid for the first time in my long life! Yes, cant wait! And no, even if I do catch the bouquet, I doubt anyone would be crazy enough to want to marry me lol!

I know I said it last time I was there, and I probably did just over 2 years ago, when I was there before that, that I suspect this will be my last trip to LA for a long while, unless a miracle happens. And hey, this isnt the Golden Age of Hollywood, when women were plucked off the streets, and into the movies, lets face it. So yes, I’m pretty sure, unless…?

I’m not saying I will never be back again, I suspect that just before my ancient old body tells me that I can no longer travel that far, that I will do one last trip to that crazy town. Of course, in the interim, something could happen to me, and I wont get back. But yes, that would be the plan, at least. But fine, just in case, I have a few places to visit this trip, and say goodbye, just in case. There is one place I’d love to go, if only I knew where ‘she’ was buried. Regular readers will know who ‘she’ is, and if you dont, look back a couple of blogs to a very big clue!

The thing that worries me in a sense tomorrow, is the length of the flight, nearly 11 hours! Yes, its lovely getting a direct flight, but I’m certain its the longest flight I’ve ever done, though whether London to Seattle direct, 14 years ago, was just under 10 hours, or more, no idea? Just hope the joints havent seized up too much by the time I get to LA!

Right, I’m not expecting a kiss, but if you want to smile for me, feel free. Regardless, tomorrow I’ll be leaving on a jet plane, though I do know when I’ll be back again. Until then, for those who read both blogs, they are very likely to be exactly the same, just saying…

Wont somebody dine with me?

OK, forgive me this piece of silliness, as in truth, the only people who could take me up on this, would be in the area around, or in the LA area, and the chances of many of them reading this, and being brave enough to go out to dinner with me, let alone do anything more, not going to happen!

In truth, most of the time, I’m very happy being solo, it enables me to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and not worry about anyone else, and how they might disagree with me on things. But yes, the one time of day I sometimes wish I wasnt single, is when I’m eating out. I know, restaurants and places nowadays shouldnt treat single folk any differently to how they treat couples, and larger parties, but yes, it happens.

Now, whether this is because one server still has to wait a table for one, when they could be serving more people, and getting a larger tip, no idea. And of course, in most places, one person at a table takes it as much out of action as a party of 4 does. So yes, I can get it, sort of. Of course, when those places arent even busy lol?

But in truth, for me, its not really that. Given that I have a fairly modest appetite, and dont bother with starters (I’m a dessert person, when I need a second course), there is that awkward period between ordering, and your meal arriving, when you really have nothing to do, but wait, when you’re alone. No, I wouldnt want to be on my phone, even if I had one, just not my idea of politeness.

So yes, a dining companion, who I could chat with, during that sometimes interminable wait, would be nice, just at that point in time. Oh fine, someone to chat with, through the whole meal experience might be nice, and as for feeling wanted, just for once, no idea what its like now! So, if anyone in LA is feeling brave, just shout me here, or on email at stephmajor8@hotmail.com, or on Twitter at @Harleanlook, and let me know. In truth, if I’m paying my half (and I’d happily do so), then please consider I’m on a budget, if suggesting places. No, I cant do places like Musso & Frank, unless you’re paying lol!

Topic subjects I’d be good at, well, obviously the old movies (20’s and 30’s) would be a good starter. I do know some 50’s science fiction stuff, but modern movies, I’d be lost! Could probably have a fun discussion on Dodgers baseball too, if pushed. Oh, and if you’re a scientist who wants to do weird things to my mind, and body, you’ve got the right girl! Mind, if you think you might fall for a crazy, plain, nearly 60, British lady, well…?

In truth, I thought about an advert on Craigs List (or whatever its called), but what I saw of it, I’m not likely to attract the right kind of companion there, especially as I’m someone with no interest in sex whatsoever! Might still try it tomorrow, for a giggle, but I doubt it!

Alright, dream dashed! 😛

Video, well its a play on the blog title at least. Yes, a real oldie here, from a real oldie!

Getting away from it.

The only consolation for me concerning the announcement over here today of a General Election being held in June, is that I’ll miss at least 10 days of the fuss, hype, and everything else surrounding it, as I will be out of the country. No, I’m not going to comment on my preferences, who I will be voting for, or any of the policies, given that I suspect my readers cover a wide political spectrum, and I really dont want to discuss the subject more than this cursory glance. I know, I could have ignored it completely, but its pretty hard to do, in truth, as a Brit.

As I say, thankfully 10 days of the campaigning will take place while I’m out in California, and given the nature of US TV, I doubt it will get too much attention over there, at least I hope not! Not that I plan to be watching too much TV while there, unless its me on a chat show, or something like that! But no, unless I get into the audience at Fallon’s, or Corden’s shows, and get seen, I wont hold my breath on that!

I will be doing my piece at the Talent Agency that I signed up with, on my last trip across, well, on their website at least. This time around I should get to meet the boss of the firm, and who knows where that might lead? Probably not far, but I can hope. In truth, a run in small theaters, in a small to medium role(s) would probably fulfil my dream. I know, star in the movies might be fun, but this isnt the Golden Age, its the reality age, and 59 year olds arent likely to break into the movies now! But…? Emailed the agency earlier today, to let them know I will (finally) be in town again, and see what develops from there. Probably just a meet and greet, but it could lead to more, who really knows?

I do plan for some down time too, but I’m pretty sure that this might be last chance saloon, so, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and at least I can then say I tried. I will also contact the lady who interviewed me last time I was over, and see if she still wants to do another interview as well. Never too much publicity, as they say lol!

But yes, I am getting away with 10 days less of the General Election build up than most, something for which I’m very grateful! And yes, that might be a hint to the video too!

The merging of personalities

When it comes to story writers on the EMCSA, there are a few that I seem to have a love/hate relationship with. No, not in a personal way, just the nature of their stories. There is one guy who either annoys me totally with his pieces, or I just love the stories, nothing in between. But fine, this isnt about him. This is about a female writer, who uses some most delicious methods to control people, but then has this bad habit of stepping outside my comfort zone over an issue like unnecessary humiliation usage. Her name is Heather, though it isnt the Fembotheather I’ve mentioned before, I might add.

One story of hers that intrigued me for various reasons, was this one. http://192.155.80.152/WorldsOldestProfession/index.html

No, I’ve never worked in the Worlds ‘Oldest Profession’, and nor would I want to, even if I was young enough, and pretty enough to do so. Though I guess, if needs must? Let me add that I’ve known personally a couple of ladies who have, a long time ago, and they told me that it wasnt as bad as the image might be portrayed. Fine, both of these women operated out of safe premises, not the street corners, but fine, I admired them for doing it, and thought, not for me though, thanks.
But this story is supposedly a step up on that, high class escort girls, and fine, the story did have me wondering what that type of work would actually be like? Fine, at 59, and not all that pretty, I’m not likely to find out now, but OK, it made me curious as to what it would actually be like, doing that role? Is it as glamorous as in the story? I know, not going to find an answer here, but anyway…

Her other story I read today that had me thinking, was this one. http://192.155.80.152/BecomingAmber/index.html

No, I dont think again, at my age, and with my looks, I’m likely to find out what its like to be desirable and sexy, through an alter ego like Amber. But equally, I do wonder if my latent, and currently fairly dormant acting talents developed because of that bit part Hollywood actress in my past life? So yes, it had me thinking, if I just let go, and became Clara, would my acting skills, and presumably her dancing talents shine through in me?

I know, this piece is purely fictional, but knowing she’s within me, and even if she never made it as a major star, I’m pretty sure she was more talented in that field than me. So if it was possible to just let go, and really become Clara…hmm?

Oh fine, I’d rather become a big star like Jean Harlow, but even now, that little edge in talent, that might actually get me some decent roles, fascinating to consider? But yes, I cant deny that I’d love to become Clara, on my trip to Hollywood, if only to see the city as she would, allowing for the differences in time at least.

A saucy promo, one of my stories where you could say that Clara and I did become 1? https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/576469
Go on, make us both happy, not a big price! Oh, and Jean appears twice too!

Video time. For becoming someone else, or merging personalities, one song instantly came to mind, this one